I don't love this slate. I struggled with a few games - the Jaguars-Texans, Ravens-Cardinals, Vikings-Panthers and Redskins-Bills in particular - but there were also a few I liked: the Rams, Pats, Seahawks and Chiefs.
Saints -14 at Rams
Anytime a team wins by 55, it's probably a good idea to sell them the following week. Moreover, 14 on the road is just a massive line (if you consider home field's worth roughly three points, that means this line would be 20 in New Orleans). The Saints are a good team, and the Rams are a doormat, but this is excessive. Back St. Louis who keeps it close. (And has a 10 percent chance of winning outright).
Saints 24 - 17
Dolphins +10 at Giants
The Giants are pretty Jeckyll and Hyde this year, able to lose to the Redskins and Seahawks (at home) and then beat the Eagles and the Bills. They also rely on big plays on both sides of the ball which tend to add volatility and make it harder to know what you'll get game to game. In the end, the Dolphins are a bad team, but Matt Moore has a pulse, and I think he'll move the ball fairly consistently against a shaky Giants defense. Back the Dolphins who stay within range.
Giants 27 - 23
Cardinals +13 at Ravens
The Ravens offense was dominated Monday night, but the Jaguars defense is vastly improved over last year's, which is not something one can say about the Cardinals. Expect Baltimore to get back on track and win this one easily. Back the Ravens.
Ravens 31 - 13
Vikings +3 at Panthers
The Vikings seem like the sharp play given that the Panthers are the obvious one. Like everyone else, I imagine Cam Newton will go off in this game and want to take the Panthers, but that kind of thinking is rarely relevant when it comes to picking games against the spread. Back Minnesota.
Vikings 20 - 19
Colts +9 at Titans
This is a lot of points for the Titans to be laying after losing by 34 to the Texans last week. Of course, the Colts just lost by 55. But Indy's been in several games this year and as bad as it's played I have to take the points here. Back the Colts.
Titans 20 - 17
Jaguars +10 at Texans
This game is a coin flip for me. The Jaguars just played a fantastic game defensively, but Andre Johnson will be back for Houston, and the Texans defense has been able to generate more pressure this season. I'll back Jacksonville, who also played Pittsburgh tough in Week 6.
Texans 24 - 16
Lions -3 at Broncos
The Lions beat up on a Chiefs squad that wasn't ready for the season and then an overrated Tampa team, but really they've just been average since, getting lucky against Dallas, barely beating Minnesota and now losing two straight. Give me Denver at home especially now that God is also taking the points.
Broncos 24 - 23
Redskins +6 at Bills
This line opened at four, then shot up to six. I don't know what to make of the Redskins given all their injuries and the poor play at quarterback. Still, I'll back them as the contrarian play as the public is all over Buffalo. Back Washington.
Bills 19 - 17
Bengals -3 at Seahawks
The Seahawks are not really doormats, and the Bengals are not really an upper-echelon team at this point. Plus Seattle has one of the best homefield advantages in the league, something that could be hard on rookie Andy Dalton. Back the Seahawks.
Seahawks 20 - 17
Browns +9 at 49ers
The 49ers destroyed the Bucs last time they were at home, but sometimes games get away and are not probative of anything going forward. The Browns are okay - a below average, not-quite doormat squad that will probably hang around in an ugly contest. Back Cleveland.
49ers 17 - 10
Patriots -2.5 at Steelers
Tom Brady's never really had much trouble with Dick LeBeau's schemes, and with James Harrison out, I don't expect that to change. The Steelers will score some points, but the Pats pull away. Back New England.
Patriots 34 - 27
Cowboys +3 at Eagles
Maybe this is priced into the line already, but Andy Reid is 12-0 off the bye week, and the Eagles are at home. (One thing to consider is that teams are allowed fewer practices and meetings during the off week this year, but my feeling is that the Eagles' advantage is more about coaching preparation than practice.) Back Philly.
Eagles 31 - 23
Chargers -3.5 at Chiefs
This is probably the week the Chargers somehow get it together, but I'm done with them as three-plus road favorites against anyone, let alone the Chiefs who have miraculously gotten it together since looking like the worst team in the league through two weeks. Back Kansas City who wins outright when San Diego makes some ghastly mental and strategic errors.
Chiefs 24 - 23
We were 6-7 last week to put us at 51-48-4 on the season. From 1999-2010 we've gone 1565-1387 (53%, not including ties).
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